Biography/Memoir

Kratom users in States that ban it discuss how prohibition has made life worse

Their experiences underscore the high stakes of a potential federal ban on kratom. Some consumers have been unwilling to sacrifice the benefits they’ve gotten from kratom, and have kept using it despite the legal risks. A few now face serious repercussions as a result. This demand suggests a robust black market for kratom will continue to exist, regardless of its legal status.

For consumers deterred from kratom use by a ban, the results also could be hurtful. Many people who take kratom suffer from severe medical conditions that they’ve been unable to treat effectively with prescription drugs alone. Others use kratom as a replacement for other more powerful opioids. If it’s taken away, they may end up back on ineffective or problematic medications, or worse, on potentially deadly opioids … Doctors eventually prescribed her [Abbie] suboxone, a medication for opioid addiction. She took it for four years and for the most part it worked, but at a high cost, she said. “By the way it made me feel, I might as well have been using heroin,” said Abbie. “I was a shell of a person and I always felt like I was doped up.” After getting off suboxone…, Abbie started taking kratom. It effectively managed her pain without any debilitating side effects or the agonizing symptoms of withdrawal associated with opioid medications, she said. “I didn’t feel gross, groggy and high, I felt normal,” said Abbie. “Most importantly, I was pain-free.” “When I weighed the pros and cons, it was a no-brainer,” she said. “Kratom kept me from going back to the disgusting opiates that almost killed me”… But in 2016, shortly after she discovered kratom, her home state of Alabama banned it. Abbie got a P.O. box in a neighboring state, where she now receives kratom shipments.​ Still, Abbie said she grapples with the fear of being thrown in prison if she’s caught driving across state lines with a Schedule 1 substance. “This little life-saving plant has caused me to risk my freedom, but what other choice did I have?” Abbie said. The alternatives to not using it, she added, are “either be in constant pain and have a hard time living my life and a hard time doing simple things, or go back to the old way of doing things and use drugs that will kill me.”

​Original Article (Huffington Post):
Kratom Users In States That Ban It Discuss How Prohibition Has Made Life Worse
Artwork Fair Use: Terry Platt

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